It was game day, and here’s how it started:
I grabbed the Metro North to Yankee Stadium for the DBacks and Yankees. It was my first Yankee game of the year, and I was interested to see how the security was for the game. I kept hearing stories and rumors about how ridiculous it’s gotten, but I was interested to see for myself. When I got off, I noticed the Yankees had put up a tribute for the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy:
Classy move by the Yanks. I headed around to Gate 2, and I was aiming to be the first one in line. And I was: After about a half hour or so, I came across Zack Hample and we hung out until the gate opened. He’s taking part in this charity fundraising through BIGS Sunflower Seeds. They sent him a big bucket of them to try, and I was lucky enough to get a sample from his fist ever bag:
Pardon my lack of excitement. I’ve just been really tired and out of it lately. I’m not sure why. Eventually, the gates opened, yet Zack got to the left field seats before me. I don’t know what my deal is when I enter the stadium, I’m always fumbling with my bag, or ticket, or glove. I have to be better. Anyway…
I ran to left and found myself in front of David Robertson, and some other player I couldn’t identify. A few balls came to him, but he wasn’t tossing much up. There were no home runs getting hit to my area either. A very dull BP, if you ask me. I was disappointed because I had plenty of aisle space, but no reason to run in it: You can see Zack in the picture next to the “ZooYork” sign. I was tempted to run to right field, but A) the Yanks weren’t hitting anything over there, and B) with only 45 minutes until I got kicked out of the section, it wasn’t worth it to run over. After a while, another group of players wound up in front of me: And I got David Phelps to toss me ball #1 on the day: Cool. There was about 20 more minutes of lifeless BP from the Yanks, so after they ran off I headed over to the Arizona dugout:
Now, take a look to the left. See #5? That’s Steve Sax.I asked him if I could have his ball when he was done, and he said no. Later on, he ignored kids and everyone else and fungoed balls from the outfield to the infield. Lame. Since security sucks, I got kicked out of the field seats and ran up to here:
I was hoping a lefty on the DBacks (Chavez, Goldschmidt) would pop one up to me, but nothing happened. I saw Zack catch a few just feet from my grasp, however. BP ended, and I was on 1 ball. I headed over here for the “Harkey”:
During the game, I was bored so I headed up to the highest spot of the stadium:
- 2 balls at this game
- 4 balls this season
- 85 career balls
- Yankees record when I attend in 2013: 1-0 (36-22 all time)
- Diamondbacks record when I attend in 2013: 0-1 (1-3)
I checked these balls for invisible stamps, as well. Only one had a visible stamp:
Until next time…
It was a bit unexpected and last minute, but I was here early Wednesday morning:
… I was about to board the Metro North with my dad to go to Yankee Stadium for the 2nd time in 2 nights.He hasn’t been to a game all season, plus he was off from work, so what the heck. I don’t normally take the train to the game, but when I got off, I never realized the awesome view of Yankee Stadium you get when you make your way out:
… Turns out a few guys were hitting grounders to Alex Rodriguez. If there was to be batting practice for the Jays after, It was going to be another toughie. Here’s how it looked in the left field seats:
… it was only going to get more crowded. After about 20 solid minutes of Jays tossing, I played the patient waiting game, spotted out Ricky Romero, called his name, and got him to toss me ball No. 1 for the day:
(Romero is the one throwing in the photo.) My dad has never been to a game yet with me where I was ballhawking, so he was amazed at how I managed to get that ball. To my credit, I was the only one who recognized any of the players and actually asked for one. What a concept. Here is the ball in all its beauty:
What a view. I mean honestly, he could absolutely sail one to the left, and I could run over uncontested and grab it. I couldn’t believe for a day game crowd how empty this area was, but I wasn’t complaining. Here was my view down to the bullpen to give you perspective on height and distance, keep it in mind:
Now. Harkey came over, did his usual 4 or 5, then looked up at me. I waved my glove a few times, (I mean really, who else could he look at) and we made eye contact and he chucked it up. It was falling short, and quick. I decided to make a move. I took my right hand, grabbed as much of the stone wall as I could, and lunged over the wall. I would have to estimate that I was at least hanging over the wall up to my kneecaps. I almost over-judged the ball, as it smacked into the heel of my glove. I couldn’t believe it. To date, it was the sickest snag I’ve made. My dad couldn’t believe it. The bleacher section below shown in the photo above gave me a round of applause and cheers. People were high-fiving me, even cops were telling me how nice the grab was. It was a pretty surreal moment.
As quick as that escalated, that’s how quick it died down. So we headed up to our seats. On the way, I noticed the Yankees museum had NO line to get in. I’ve been wanting to check that place out for 3 years now, so we went in quick. Here are a few photos:
Okay. Thanks for getting through that. Of those pictures, we have:
1) the 2009 World Series ring the Yankees received
2) a signed Rickey Henderson ball. The Yankees have almost every signature they could get from the superstars to the mop-up relievers, one on each ball inside a glass case. I picked Rickey’s because he was just an awesome player.
3) A collection of rings the Yankees earned from 1977-2009
4) The model of Yankee Stadium that the Steinbrenners proposed to the city of New York
5) Thurman Munson’s old locker from the Old Yankee Stadium
Here were our seats:
… and got denied a few times. The seats were pretty empty (it was pretty hot out), but nothing was hit my way. The game ended. Jays 8, Yanks 5. Since it was getaway day, the Jays hi-tailed it out of there. However, I spotted one of these bad boys on the wall:
Groundskeeper: “I just gave you one yesterday.”
Chris: “No, you didn’t. That was Zack.” (Sidebar- I was standing next to Zack Hample when he got the lineup card the night before, as you can see here. See? I was there.)
G: “Yes, you did. Why do you gotta lie to me?”
C: “I swear to you, it wasn’t me! I was there, but you gave it to Zack.”
G: “You don’t gotta lie, man, I’m gonna give it to you anyway, but don’t lie to me man.”
…… what the heck?
I wasn’t going to let that ruin my day though. I snagged more balls today with no BP than the night before. And I got a lineup card. Here it is in all it’s glory:
- 2 balls at this game
- 71 career balls
- 9 straight games at Yankee Stadium with a ball
- 13 straight MLB games with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend: 35-22 (9-4 in 2012)
- Blue Jays record when I attend: 2-7 (1-2 in 2012)
I’m thinking of going Friday vs. the Orioles, but I’m not sure just yet.
Another day, another ballgame…
As ridiculous as the Gate 6 lines looked, I headed over to Gate 8 behind center field, and waited about 5 or 10 minutes until I grabbed my “Old School Yankee Pennant” and headed out to left field, which was pleasantly surprising:
Look at all that space. I had so much room to run, but… I just needed someone to hit a ball to me. Chris Stewart came up for what seemed like 20 minutes, and then the Yankees vanished. The Blue Jays came out, and hit nothing that really came my way. I saw a few balls get hit in the section to my left, and some were hit into the bleachers above me. After that, it got really crowded. I’ll save you the time. Kids got toss ups (don’t get me wrong, that’s great – as long as my streak is alive), and nothing was hit towards me. The Jays started hitting towards right field. Until of course, the ushers started kicking people out:
Of course, nothing was hit there. Eventually, bullpen catcher Alex Andreopolous walked towards the warning track with several balls in his catcher’s mitt:
I got him to toss me up a ball. It felt good to be on the board and keep the streak going:
And made my way to the center field cafe area to try and work my magic for “The Harkey”. If you don’t know what this is, refer to my other Yankee Stadium posts, it’s explained there. Here was my spot:
I decided to chill for a bit during the game, and managed to notice this –
Later, Adeiny Heccevarria hit his 1st career homer to right field. And the guy that caught it? …. He gave it back to Right Fielder Moises Sierra in a trade for what was probably a crappy BP ball. For shame. If it was me, I would’ve told Moises that I simply wanted to hand it to him myself.
Moving on… I headed down to here after about the 7th inning:
But nobody hit one out. Yankees won the game, 2-1 in a very quick game for two AL East foes. After the game, I met up with the famous Zack Hample, and talked for a good 15 minutes. We talked a bit before the game during BP, both expressing our hate for Yankee Stadium. He managed to snag the bullpen lineup card and was immediately stoked:
- 1 ball at this game
- 69 career balls
- 8 straight games at Yankee Stadium with a ball
- 12 straight MLB games with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend: 35-21 (9-3 in 2012)
- Blue Jays record when I attend: 1-7 (0-2 in 2012)
I got a ticket for this game for 1 reason and 1 reason only:
I wanted a Fenway commemorative ball. Correction: I NEEDED one. I did not feel like going up to Boston just for one ball. I had some previous obligations to take care of earlier in the day, so I was already in the city. I was actually able to make it to the stadium very early for once, and it felt good. Thus, my journey starts here on 51st Street and Lexington Ave:
I then grabbed the 4 at 59th street, and a few cramped, crowded, sweaty, woman next to yous sweaty armpits minutes later I was here:
I love being there when nobody else is. I normally go inside Gate 6 (Right Field), but since I had the time, I decided to go inside Gate 2 (Left Field). The line was huge, look where I had to stand:
I never eat McDonald’s. Today was an exception. I was going to be running plenty to burn that off. Around 4:45 (gates open at 5), this guy behind me all of the sudden decides to cut me. It was the weirdest thing ever. The lady next to me offered to say something but the guy was old, and honestly, did not look like he would be ballhawking. I would get in eventually just like everyone else. I found it funny though because no matter WHAT I do, I am never the first on line. Anyway, I got my bag checked and ran in to left field. Here was my spectacular view to my right:
When I was checking for easter eggs, I could see that a usher had a ball in his hands. I wasn’t going to ask him for it. The next moment, Andruw Jones blasted a home run that hit off the logo next to the “State Farm” to the right in the above picture. I ran over a few rows, and before I knew it, 2 minutes in I had this:
It was the first home run that I snagged that was hit into the seats that wound up into my glove. Very cool. 15 seconds later, Andruw smacked one into the walkway tunnel for the section to my right, so I ran up and snagged it before someone running behind me could get it:
… and just like that, 3 minutes in I had 2 balls, both of them hit into the stands and retrieved by me, something I have never done before. Very awesome. They didn’t have Fenway commemorative logos on them, so there was more work to be done. I knew it wouldn’t be this easy for much longer, as the crowd was filing in:
I think it’s funny how everyone swarms to the front row. I’m guilty of this myself sometimes, but you usually have better luck standing back further. I usually do this when I get caught up in trying to get Hiroki Kuroda to toss me a ball. Which he will successfully, someday. 5 minutes later, the Yankees were done. The Sox still were stretching, so I ran over to here:
Where I later got my third ball of the day from Ryan Lavarnway, who was tossing with Cody Ross. I quickly looked at the ball, and there was no logo on it. I moved closer to the cage where Dustin Pedroia was hitting:
I avoided trying to go to the field and get a toss up because it looked like this:
I looked over in the bullpen and saw this:
But, bullpen coach Gary Tuck was being a jerk the whole night and put them back in his bag. I tried asking Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway for theirs:
I did take this cool picture of Franklin Morales warming up:
Later, Derek Jeter apparently “crushed” his 250th home run.
I tried every half inning for a toss up, and would not quit. I got Alfredo Aceves to acknowledge me:
in the top of the 9th and he said he’d get me. So I waited. And the game ended. Gary Tuck -___- took the bag with him, so that was that. So I headed down to the bullpen gate, in hopes of asking the groundskeeper for a ball and hoping it was a commemorative. 5 anguish-filled minutes later….
SA-WEEEEET! (One E for each commemorative) I now had FIVE commemorative balls out of the SIX this year, and I have ONE and only one chance to get it next Saturday when the Astros play the Mets. It was smudged, but hell, I’ll take it. Ironically, a short minute later, Aceves actually came through and threw me a commemorative ball, but it fell short hitting the fence. I was busy high-tailing out of there to catch my Metro-North train, and headed home after a LOOONG day in NYC. Following pic taken on the train:
- 4 balls at this game (Ties personal MLB record!)
- 64 career balls
- 7 games in a row at Yankee with a ball (new record!)
- 10 straight MLB games with a ball (new record!)
- Yankees record when I attend: 34-21 (8-3 in 2012)
- Red Sox record when I attend: 5-2 (1-1 in 2012)
Next game: Possibly mid-week Rockies/Mets, otherwise Astros/Mets 8/25 to try and complete the Commemorative Set!
For some reason, it was ridiculously crowded at Yankee Stadium today. Gate 6 was a swarm, so I headed over to Gate 8 (CF Bleachers) and it wasn’t as bad. Have a look:
- 1 ball at this game.
- 60 career balls
- 6 games in a row at Yankee with a ball
- 9 straight MLB games with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend – 33-21 (7-3 this season)
- Texas record when I attend – 0-2 (0-1 this season)
One day after going to the Renegades game, I was here on Tuesday with Rich:
Unfortunately, I had to wait for Rich to get home from work. But, I made record time down to Woodlawn to catch the 4 and get to Yankee Stadium by 5:45. When we got in, I headed over to the left field bleachers because the lovely Yankee Stadium security kicked everyone out at 5:50. They used to not do this in right field, but it’s Yankee Stadium so lets treat it like a prison. Here’s where I wound up:
I looked over to my left and saw Tommy Hunter and Wei-Yin Chen playing pepper:
…and failed there too. Both looked up at me, but did nothing. I did, however, see Zack Hample ask Chen in Taiwanese for a ball, so there’s that. He recognized me and struck up a conversation, which I thought was cool as well.
Then that was it for BP. I headed over to left field to the bullpen, since the right field bullpen only had one ball hit into it which was given away by a security guard:
I really wanted an Orioles commemorative ball since this would probably be my last chance this season, and I didn’t want to bank on the Orioles coming to New York in April and trying to get a leftover. I also wasn’t going to make it down to Camden so, it had to be today. The groundskeeper in left threw one up to a fan, and then I politely asked him for one and he told me he was fresh out.
I then decided to head up here and try the “Harkey”:
… and finally got him to throw me one, so I was on the board for the day. I almost lost it, as someone lunged in front of me and almost got it. I leaned a little more forward than he did, and managed to get it. He then proceeded to tell me how he didn’t want to get in my way, when in fact he did. But he was a cool guy and congratulated me on the snag. Here’s the ball:
The Yankees managed to take a 5-0 lead in the 1st inning, only to give it away in the 2nd by allowing 7 runs. It was that kind of a game. We headed down behind home plate in the 8th to watch Ichiro Suzuki hit:
Then I went over by the Oriole bullpen in the bottom of the 9th to try and get a commemorative from coach Bill Castro:
Now. It was sort of quiet at this point, so I struck up a conversation. I asked Castro if they had any commemorative balls. He looked at me like I had three heads. I simplified the question and said “the ones with the Camden Yards stamps on them?” and he rummaged around the ball bag and held a commemorative up. I gave him a thumbs up and said could I please have one and pointed to the Orioles logo on my shirt, and he threw it up. I didn’t expect him to sail one, so it landed perfectly in this womans lap sitting to the right of me. It fell on the ground, and she picked it up. Then she gave me the snarkiest smirk on her face, I swear I wanted to lose it. And she was going to give it to me until her son told her to keep the said ball that was totally unintended for her. I would have given it to them if it was the other way around. So I went back to Castro and asked for another because a lady took it. He said “Sorry, kid”.
Yeah. So the game ended, final score: Orioles 11, Yankees 5. After the game, I asked him one more time to try again. He looked at me and said “You better catch this one”, so I stood back and he flipped it up to me.
I now have 4 commemoratives this year (BAL, LAD, NYM, MIA) and need 2 more to go (BOS, HOU). It felt great to get that one.
I headed home and ended the day with the 2 I snagged.
- 2 balls at this game
- 56 career balls
- 5 games in a row at Yankee with a ball
- Yankees record when I attend: 32-21
- Orioles record when I attend: 5-2
Not sure when my next game is.
This is how I spent my Saturday:
I wouldn’t normally have gone to a game like this, being that its Boston vs.the Yankees, it’s a weekend, and it would be crowded. But, it was a birthday gift for my girlfriend Natalie’s sister, Jenna. She is a Sox fan, so we decided it would be fun to take her to Yankee Stadium for the first time. Here is Jenna on the right, and her brother Eric:
The next part of the day was a little frustrating. The 4 train took longer than it usually does, plus since it was Sox/Yankees and not 100 degrees out, the lines were ridiculous. We headed over to Gate 8 in Center Field and entered around 10 minutes after the gates opened. I didn’t know if the Yankees would be hitting being this was a day game after a night game, but they were in fact hitting. I’m a sucker for trying to get toss-ups and figured today there are just too many people so I would try and snag just home runs (even though I’ve done this a total of zero times). Here is where I positioned myself:
Eric spread out and went to the section next to mine. The arrow is pointed at him:
So what happened next? Raul Ibañez hit about 4 balls in Eric’s direction into the big crowd by him, and then Nick Swisher hit one relatively close to me that ricocheted off the railing and into the hat of the man 2 rows in front of me. Not good.
See the streaks of rain in the last picture, well after Swisher was hitting, it started to rain and the Yankees came off the field. I was only here 5 friggin’ minutes! The Red Sox were already out tossing, so some of them stayed outside. I knew since BP was over, the ushers wouldn’t let me down by the Red Sox side. Here’s how quick the section cleared out:
I figured I’d hang in the area because there were a few balls (not pictured, against the wall) here:
Shortly thereafter, a Yankee Stadium security guard came over, tossed me a ball that smacked into the protective netting, then tried again and got it into my glove for my first (and probably last) ball of the day.
Since it was Jenna’s first time in the new stadium and the action on the field was dead (Vicente Padilla was tossing but was being a total douche, more on him later), we walked around the park. I took some interesting photos such as this:
And then there’s this –
Then, the storm clouds rolled in and unloaded pouring rain for 2 hours to the tune of this:
I was excited to see this around 5:30:
Natalie seemed to enjoy herself, while I was still puzzled/pissed about the rain situation:
Finally, the field was coming into shape, so I was in position to try the “Mike Harkey” trick. For those of you who don’t know, he is the bullpen coach for the Yankees, and comes out before every home game and throws about 6 or 7 balls into the crowd, one of them which usually goes up to the “Batters Eye Restaurant”, which is where I was. Here is Harkey:
Remember Padilla? Well, he and Mark Teixeira have a troubled past, so to say, and tonight was just another chapter in their dramatic relationship. In the late innings, he was facing Teixeira and lobbed in a 51 mph eephus pitch to try and make him look stupid. The very next pitch, Teixeira rocketed the 96 (how about that 45 mph difference!) mph fastball into the seats. It was truly epic, you had to be there. The Yankees wound up losing the game, 8-6, but at the end I made my way to the Red Sox bullpen and asked the bullpen catcher if I could have a ball. He reached into the bag and pulled out a OH MY GOD COMMEMORATIVE BALL! So he tosses it over the protective bullpen fence-thing, and someone tips the ball away from my glove. Holy hell, was I pissed. I thanked the guy too by the way. Now I have to go up to Boston if I want one of these things. I tried getting his attention again, but he was already towards the infield area. I then asked this groundskeeper if he could toss me one of the 3 balls left by the Red Sox in the bullpen, hoping it was commemorative:
(Just a note – this groundskeeper is really cool. Just be polite and patient, he’ll most likely hook you up) He said “Sure, just wait like 5 minutes, I really gotta get this done”. So I said “Sure man, no problem”. Two seconds later, he reached over, grabbed the ball, tossed it over to me, and thanks me for actually being patient. I guess usually everyone just demands a ball, instead of asking. What a concept. I was now on two balls (none commemorative… -__- )for the night. We took one last photo for the night:
- 2 balls at this game
- 52 total balls
- 4 straight games at Yankee Stadium with a ball
- Yankees record this season when I attend: 6-2 Overall: 32-20
- Red Sox record when I attend: 5-1